AUSTIN, Texas — Tiger Woods wasn’t thrilled together with his golf, saying his stroke-play rating would have “broke 80” at Austin Nation Membership on Wednesday.
It wasn’t almost that unhealthy, however it nonetheless wasn’t simple for Woods, who prevailed Three and 1 over Aaron Clever within the first day of pool play on the WGC-Dell Applied sciences Match Play Championship.
“There isn’t any scorecard aside from whether or not you gained the match or not,” stated Woods, who performs Brandt Snedeker on Thursday within the second of three pool-play matches. “I am nonetheless making an attempt to wrap my head across the reality it is this round-robin factor. I assumed it was win or go dwelling. However we’re nonetheless right here for a pair extra days.”
For the primary time since 2013, Tiger Woods is competing within the WGC-Dell Applied sciences Match Play Championship — and welcomes a brand new format that permits him to “give attention to one man.”
After per week off, Tiger is again at what is going to seemingly be his remaining begin earlier than the Masters. We observe him every cease on the WGC-Dell Applied sciences Match Play and all of the steps main so far.
Woods, who has gained the Match Play 3 times and a complete of 18 World Golf Championship titles, has not performed it since 2013, when the format was single elimination. That modified in 2015, and Woods has not been eligible for the occasion prior to now 4 years as he handled accidents and a rating that stored him out of the highest 64 on this planet.
He nonetheless improved his tournament-best document within the occasion 34-10, closing out the reigning PGA Tour Rookie of the Yr on the 17th gap when Clever three-putted to lose the outlet.
Woods was 2 up early within the spherical as Clever was jittery from the beginning, gave again a gap with a bogey on the third gap, and was once more 2 up by way of eight holes when Clever gained three straight to take a 1-up lead.
And it appeared like Woods would go down two holes on the par-Three 11th, however he made a 10-footer for par to salvage a tie. Each gamers birdied the 12th, however Woods acquired a break when Clever discovered the water together with his strategy on the quick par-Four 13th.
“It wasn’t precisely one of the best golf on the market from each of us,” stated Woods, who made 4 birdies and 4 bogeys by way of the 17 holes. “We gave just a few holes away with bogeys and three-putts and we gained just a few holes with some good birdies. It was an emotional spherical as a result of there weren’t a variety of halved holes.
“I used to be up, the subsequent factor I am down within the match. Appeared like I used to be about able to go 2 down by way of 11, swiftly I am all sq.. I am up after which I throw away a gap with a three-putt. It is a type of bizarre matches.”
“It was simply beat the man that is proper in entrance of you. And I used to be in a position to do this,” Tiger Woods stated of his tough spherical Wednesday. Ezra Shaw/Getty Photographs
That’s the nature of match play. Snedeker was Three up by way of 11 holes in opposition to Patrick Cantlay and misplaced 4 straight to go 1 down, solely to win the 18th with a birdie and salvage a tie.
Snedeker, a PGA Tour veteran with 9 victories, has performed with Woods in PGA Tour rounds 13 occasions of their careers however by no means bested him. Woods has had the higher rating 12 occasions and tied Snedeker as soon as. Cantlay will play Clever on Thursday and Woods on Saturday.
The participant with one of the best document within the group after Friday advances to the ultimate 16, the place knockout matches start Saturday morning.
If gamers are tied by way of Friday, no matter head-to-head matches, they may have a hole-by-hole playoff to find out who advances.
Clever, who gained the NCAA particular person title at Oregon 20 years after Woods did it in 1996 at Stanford, lamented a poor begin and an strategy at 13 that appeared to show the match.
“I actually respect what he is performed within the recreation, and it was fairly cool to have the ability to watch him compete as we speak and be alongside him,” stated Clever, who had by no means performed with Woods beforehand. “It was fairly enjoyable to get in his group and compete in opposition to him.”
Maybe the most important upset of the day belonged to Denmark’s Lucas Bjerregaard, who whipped fifth-ranked Justin Thomas Three and a pair of.
England’s Tom Lewis managed a tie in opposition to third-ranked Brooks Koepka.
And No. 52 Jim Furyk rallied from Three all the way down to defeat two-time Match Play champion Jason Day 2 up.
“I assume my perspective has been actually good,” stated Furyk, 48, who completed second to Rory McIlroy two weeks in the past on the Gamers Championship and is in place to qualify for the Masters with one other match victory over the subsequent two days. “Even once I was Three down, you can begin to really feel like you’ll be able to’t make a mistake, and that feeling could be very binding. It is robust to hit good photographs at that time.
“I did not assume I used to be going to be enjoying on this occasion and I am standing on the 15th tee all sq., sort of pinching myself. Right here I’m enjoying Jason Day on the World Golf match play, and I wasn’t purported to be right here. So I attempted to get pleasure from the truth that I put myself again in place.”
Within the 4 earlier years of the pool play format, advancing after a first-day loss has confirmed tough. Solely eight gamers have performed so out of 111 matches, and none of these gamers made the finals. Twice, gamers superior with 1-Zero-2 data.
“Simply advance,” stated Woods, nonetheless caught on the previous terminology; he could be enjoying on regardless. “Simply beat the man in entrance of me. If it was a stroke-play occasion, we would each be fairly far behind the leaders. However it was simply beat the man that is proper in entrance of you. And I used to be in a position to do this.”